Sunday, May 15, 2011

20m/1t - Palatine Hill and How Time Flies

I promised myself I'd start blogging again in 20 minute chunks with a singular focus for each post... here goes!

I had the amazing opportunity to visit Rome with my family a few weeks ago, and while visiting was a dream come true, I had an odd experience while we were there. Amidst the ruins, columns and amazing statues I began to feel displaced somehow from myself. I first felt it when we were standing under the Arch of Titus, reading from a tour book about how Jewish slaves were forced to build structure after structure in constructing the city. Aside from learning just now while writing this post that Romans Jews refuse to walk under it (oops "When in Rome"), I had an oddly disconnected/connected feeling to Rome.

I started to think about time. Some 2,000 years ago, ancient Romans most certainly felt as we do today, that our society and civilization could not and would not crumble. Yet it happened to them, as it has happened with other societies and people across time. I asked my kids to think about what New York City might be like 2,000 years from now, in the year 4011. It's impossible to even hazard a guess - but if you forced me to, I might suggest that it will probably look a bit like ancient Rome - in some sort of ruins, with a future people wondering what the heck happened.

As we moved on to Palatine Hill the feeling got more powerful. We ended up sitting for a while under a tree to rest in the center of the palace and again, my brain started working on the notion of time. I wondered who may have sat in that same spot (or close enough to it) 2,000 years ago. I wondered what they thought out on a beautiful day as they pondered their own life. I presume that none of us think about ourselves as "ancient" people from a past society's glory days, but perhaps that is just what we are. It's a maddening, silly thought.

That's where Caesar was burned, buried or something else. I can't remember and only have 20 minutes to write this post!
We ended up taking goofy photos where the throne used to be - the throne of anicent Rome, now a very flat, smooth rock on which modern day idiots from CT can take goofy photos. Will one day people stand where the White House used to be, raise their hands in the air and proclaim "I am not a crook" or some other silly, salacious or funny imitation? If history has any say in things, the chances are pretty good, right? I'm no historian, but this thing about everlasting societies hasn't held up so well so far, eh?

I feel insignificant in the face of powerful forces like the clock and the calendar and wonder what it means I ought to be spending my life doing. One thing I know I'll do more of is spending time with my amazing family.

Used to be a throne room for the world's first superpower. Now it's a place to take goofy photos and pretend to be an Emperor. 

No comments: